Stress. We're all prone to it. But especially time-strapped, overworked entrepreneurs. Whether it’s making changes to the product, finding new customers or having to let an employee go, the experience can become overwhelming. It's practically impossible to finish every task you've laid out for yourself on any given day. I've found it to be helpful to adopt a more relaxed attitude, accepting that only so much can be completed.
Because we live in such an information-saturated society, it can be easy to tune out the endless parade of statistics about how stress leads to health-related problems. However, some stats are just so eye-popping that you can't help but take notice. Here are some. According to The American Institute of Stress, not only does stress increase the risk of heart disease by 40 percent, it boosts the risk of heart attack by 25 percent and stroke by 50 percent. To escape these unpleasant consequences, try some of these relaxing ideas, in no particular order:
1. Opt for a non-toxic mattress
Health and wellness are impacted by the quality of sleep you get each night. If you're not getting the z’s you need, it could be the mattress you're sleeping on that's to blame. Choosing a 100 percent non-toxic, non-allergenic mattress can provide a night’s rest free of sneezing, itching and restlessness, although it can cost a lot. There are many different kinds of allergen-free mattresses available; you can check out many varieties, and prices, at the Allergy Buyers Club. Additionally, your pillow really, really should be changed every six months.
2. Try a massage
Millions of people have been seeing massage therapists once in a while as a way to take off that extra edge, relieve back problems or relieve muscle soreness after working out. The Mayo Clinic says, in general, massage is an effective treatment to reduce stress, pain and muscle tension. You can even have a massage therapist come to your office at a time you specify.
Merlin Kaufman is the CEO of Soothe.com, an online massage delivery service. He says, "Making tough executive decisions becomes easier if you have a massage first, to relax your mind and body and put you in the mood to ponder your next move as an entrepreneur." Truth be told, almost any kind of break will give you at least some benefit that helps you work better once you get back to the grind.
3. Get professional help
Sometimes you can't do it all on your own. With increasing demands at work making you stressed out, you may feel as though you just can't stop feeling anxious and on edge. Reducing the tension (even severe stress) through professional help from a qualified psychologist can be a wise idea, according to PsychCentral. There should be no stigma attached to seeking professional help if anxiety is getting the better of you -- consider it a wise investment in time and money.
4. Seek diversions away from work
Sign up for a yoga class a few times a week, perhaps after work to calm down before heading home, providing a buffer between your work and home life. There are a number of free online streaming yoga websites, as well, such as Do Yoga With Me where you can practice at your own level and at your own pace. Also consider a hobby you've always wanted to try, such as gardening, photography or hiking.
A hobby can also be a good networking tool. You can join a hobbies meetup group, just to make friends of course, but you might also discover prospective supporters for your startup.
5. Take a vacation
Remember what a vacation is? If you can't, it's time to take one!
CNBC says unused worker vacation time is at a 40-year high. As an entrepreneur you work just as hard, if not harder, than your employees -- so don’t stint yourself on booking a cruise or going camping. If you want to take a cruise you don’t have to do all the booking and planning yourself. Thousands of companies, from Disney to Carnival Cruises, to every hotel in Las Vegas, offer vacation planners that will call you at your convenience to help you plan an itinerary and get you good deals on airfares and hotels. This can take a lot of the hassle out of planning.
As Bob Dylan said, "Ya better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone." When it comes to exercise, he's right, literally. Although he may have been referring more figuratevly to changes in the American political and cultural landscape, his words can be applied to making your life better. Study after study has shown a correlation between exercise and decreased stress, as well as a healthier, happier life in general.
7. Meditate and reconnect with yourself
Take a quiet moment away from the hurly burly of the office to review and reflect on your goals. Meditation can be a huge help in this area. Meditating doesn't necessarily involve actively thinking about anything in particular. It's more of a way to clear the mind, which science has shown to be immensely helpful in reducing stress, lessening pain and bringing a greater sense of well-being.
Call to mind what it felt like originally to be out on your own; remember the thrill and pleasure it gave you to be building an organization that would be helping others meet their needs in some way while providing you with the satisfaction of earning a decent income. What were the resources and abilities you started with when you wrote out your business plan? See how far you’ve come since then, and congratulate yourself. It often feels better and more relaxing when you realize you’ve accomplished a goal, no matter what it is.